Nike doubles localization with Nike Rise concept
An ecosystem of digital stores has become one of the characteristics of Nike’s strategy, as the retailer shifts to a model that emphasizes its own stores and digital channels rather than wholesale.
The hyperlocal Nike Live concept centered on the Nike neighborhood – a a few years after its debut – is now a integral part of society fleet of stores, with provides for up to 200 small format stores overtime. The flagship format of the distributor’s House of Innovation, which integrates a lot of digital and personalization elements, a extended to three locations since its launch: in New York, Shanghai and Paris (with Paris opening just last summer).
A few weeks before the opening of the Paris House of Innovation store, Nike extended its network of digitally oriented showcases again with a new concept: Nike Rise. This store, located in Guangzhou, China, was more of a test or, “what we used to call, ‘the road to the climb,'” Daniel Heaf, vice president of Nike Direct, said in an interview.
Now the retailer is launch a more complete expression of the Nike Rise concept in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday. The Nike Rise format is the latest to join the store concept portfolio that also owns House of Innovation and Nike Live, and you have to learn from both. It includes several data-driven features and emphasizes a more localized approach in a manner similar to Nike Live. But it’s a 24,000 square foot building – much closer to the size of an Innovation House.
âIt falls in between those,â Heaf said of Nike Rise’s comparison to the other two. âIt’s a little bigger door. It is designed for the urban environment. It connects you not only to your neighborhood, but in fact to the city as a whole. And the store concept and the experiences really represent the city as a whole. “
Nike Rise, at least for now, also appears to fall somewhere in between in terms of the store’s eventual footprint. There won’t be âthat manyâ House of Innovation stores, Heaf said, while Nike Live sits on the other side of the spectrum, with large-scale expansion to come.
âWe’re bullish on physical retail. We’re going to be opening hundreds of more doors, and we’re looking at it location by location,â Heaf said of the future of Nike Rise stores. “Will there be more hikes? Absolutely. In other countries? Absolutely. But we kind of tailor the door to the consumer and the location.”
Local, but for more people
In some ways, Nike Rise is like an enlarged version of Nike Live. While Nike Live is said to be unique to a specific neighborhood, for example, the Melrose, Los Angeles area where it was launched, Nike Rise is said to be unique to a specific city. As a result, the assortment is larger than a Nike Live, as is the store’s footprint. But many similar digital features and an underlying ideology of connecting consumers to the store can be found at Nike Rise.
An area of ââthe store, dubbed the âcaucus,â allows shoppers to register for local events, including wellness talks with experts, local races, or even in-store workouts. -same. It also includes a take-out section with an assortment of nutrition and hydration products for pre or post workout snacks. A âbroadcast boothâ in the area allows the retailer to organize training sessions and virtual events in addition to in-person events.
Similar experiential stores have been tried by other players in the athletics industry, including Lululemon. This retailer’s experiential megastores hold things like yoga and HIIT workout studios, in addition to food offerings and local events. In fact, Lululemon’s Mall of America experiential store, which opened in 2019, is about 4,000 square feet smaller than the Nike Rise store in Seoul.
Dick’s too has recently been test several different store formats, one of which features a climbing wall, turf field, batting cages and personal appointments with wellness experts. The retailer is also rolling out more experiential features in its existing fleet with the aim of revamping these locations.
In its brand new concept, while focusing on the experience, Nike also emphasizes the service element of the store. The Seoul site has a recycling and donation center that allows shoppers to drop off used Nike shoes and – a first for the retailer – clothing, to donate or recycle through community partners. The program was recently launched in Europe as well. If the clothes are not yet ready for donation, the store also offers repair services to help customers make better use of their products.
Buyers can sign up for one-on-one style appointments (in person or virtual) and workshops that cover five pillars: movement, mindfulness, nutrition, sleep and recovery. Style dates may vary in purpose and span across all of the retailer’s offerings.
âIt could be the performance or the lifestyle,â Heaf said. âI might want the full run, the run, the clothes: the best pair of shorts, the best new Nike running clothes and the best new pair of sneakers. And they would give me product advice on all of these dimensions. the same goes for the lifestyle. If you are looking for a sharper, more streetwear look, a look more representative of the city, we can give you a styling session on this subject. “
Personalized appointments give way to personalized clothing in another section of the store. Much like the retailer’s House of Innovation, Nike Rise offers a plethora of customization options for shoppers, including ‘hyper local beautification kits’, the ability to customize a variety of Nike products, the ability to personalize a garment before its manufacture, a selection of local t-shirts and local graphics to be personalized by Korean artist Jaehoon Choi.
By pursuing localization and community on a slightly larger scale, Nike hopes to gain more customer loyalty and, of course, get more buyers to join Nike. Like many Nike digital-ready store concepts, Nike Rise offers a host of digital features that rely on the retailer’s app, which in turn depends on Nike member customers to be able to use it. It’s part of the retailer’s efforts to make their app incredibly useful to customers, giving Nike itself better access to customer data.
âYou don’t have to be a member to buy from the Nike Rise store,â Heaf said, âbut it’s definitely a better experience if you are because you can access all of the services. “
Digital, in different ways
In Nike Rise, there is the standard technology that Nike has adopted for many of its stores: BOPIS, digital product reservations, and a place to do digital returns in stores. Then there is the non-standard technology.
One of the main tech features of the store is an RFID powered shoe comparison table that recognizes which shoes a customer places on the table and will provide product details and side-by-side comparisons of two shoes in the store. . The buyer does not need to bring physical shoes to use the table: customers can also search for products in the store to see product details on them.
This type of technological interaction is part of the reason why the two existing Nike Rise stores are both in Asia. Seoul is “one of the most connected markets in the world,” according to Nike, and key countries in Asia tend to be early the rest of the world in terms of interaction with digital services.
âThe habits of consumers and the way they interact with the digital and the physical are just a little more advanced,â Heaf said. âSo this is the ideal place to integrate this truly avant-garde retail concept. Second, and maybe not the traditional answer, we like the idea of ââsports in Korea, in Seoul. Yes, running and basketball, but there are also different expressions of sports that are important in dance and yoga in Korea. This store concept allows us to expand our openness for what Nike has traditionally viewed as sport, which is another good thing for us to sort of walk into the concept. “
During the first test of this concept in Guangzhou, China, Heaf said Nike has focused heavily on how to integrate mobile into physical retail and what kind of in-person experiences can be offered in store depending on the application. The success of these tests is what allows it to launch what Nike calls the “supreme expression” of the store format in Seoul: a location that combines the convenience of digital and connectivity with in-person interactions.
Apart from the functional digital experiences, the store is filled with LED screens, which cover over 1,200 square feet of the location. This visual interaction begins at the very beginning of the store, with a tunnel of screens near the entrance that respond to movement and begin to light up when a consumer enters.
A central ‘digital atrium screen’ spans three stories and focuses on Seoul’s unique digital storytelling. The experience is called “Sport Pulse”, and it is the first Nike store to use the technology. At its core, the platform leverages data from Seoul to create real-time, localized stories and experiences. The data that powers the experience comes from Nike’s commerce and business apps, as well as local, sports and athlete forecasts.
Heaf calls it an âoperating system for the store itself,â but it also reflects what Nike is trying to do on a large scale: use data to optimize personalization and grow its ecosystem of store concepts and apps. . And, perhaps more importantly, make Nike customers around the world feel like the retail giant really knows them, and their specific city.
“This pulls data from our Nike Training Club and our Nike Run Club and it shows, what are the athletes doing in Seoul?” Heaf said. âAnd we express that in the heat maps, we express that in kilometers traveled and we express that in the shoes that they wear. It’s kind of that data-driven storytelling infused with all of our local branding. gives you something that’s almost real-time – and personalized to the city. “